Weekend Reads- Sex and Vanity

Good morning! And happy long weekend!


Here is my book: Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

And here is my breakfast: Bagel and lox from my local café

What a strange Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. It is overcast and on the nippy end in New York today, after some glorious weather Friday and an upcoming week in the 70s. In an alternate version of 2020, I was supposed to be in Santa Barbara this weekend celebrating my cousin Joe’s wedding. I’d been looking forward to it for over a year. My plane ticket was booked, my outfits had been selected, and then the world halted. Compared to what many have gone through, this is nothing but a sad blip, and we’ll gather next year instead–same venue, same weekend, same outfits.

I’m very excited to settle into Kevin Kwan’s latest novel, given my well documented love of the Crazy Rich Asians series. (Thank you, Doubleday!) I logged into my long dormant NetGalley account this weekend and have had lots of fun browsing the options. Sex and Vanity is among my most anticipated of 2020 (out June 30) and given that I would very much like to attend a wedding on Capri right now, I think this will be a perfect pick-me-up. I’d tell you more about it, but I’ve barely started!

I have a new writing project I’m excited about, although it requires much more research than anything I’ve written previously, but I have a solid base knowledge to work with (why didn’t I think of this years ago?!). Everything is slow going in the early stages, but now that I’m nearly finished with the Italian course on Duolingo, I’m ready for a new quarantine hobby.

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!


Finds from My Closet: A Pandemic Story

A strange thing about quarantine is that the things I used to need daily now sit gathering dust. This applies to my purses, my more professional work outfits, my planner (RIP), shoes, my keys. On several occasions, I have forgotten my wallet for my weekly grocery run.

Instead, though, I’ve found a lot of never-used items in my closets, drawers, and storage areas that are suddenly getting more use than I ever envisioned. Listing some of the items I’d dug out of my closets on a work call, a colleague quipped “how large are your closets?” They are New York-sized, although one might be described my an ambitious real estate agent as a “walk-in,” but the truth is that they are well organized (not by me).

So here is an incomplete list of things I’ve found sudden uses for during this time:

  1. My crock pot. I have had this crock pot –an old hand-me-down from my grandmother–since I moved into this apartment. Last month, it was still bubble-wrapped. In four years, I had not once used it. I had an irrational fear of the electrical appliance burning down my apartment–and that was before This Is Us (I haven’t seen it, I just heard my fears were vindicated). Well, that has all changed. Now that I need to feed myself regularly and without a daily trip to the grocery store, I’ve begun making crock-pot meals that I then consume for days. I regret to inform you that after years of avoiding my crock pot, it is, in fact, extremely useful.


    Unfortunately, I am still not a neat cook.

  2. Pyrex containers. Making six servings at a time in a crock pot has required something to store said servings in. I owned only corningware, which doesn’t keep food tightly sealed, so I had to purchase these containers from Amazon.
  3. My shopping cart. I have one of those rolling bags described by one friend as “for grandmothers.” Mine is in a houndstooth pattern from the Container Store; I always found it quite cute. I bought it thinking that I would make weekly runs to the grocery store and because I have weak arms, I thought I would need help carrying my bags. It turns out my grocery routine was sporadic at best (see above), but now I cannot imagine having to go to the store without my rolling bag.
  4. My cocktail shaker. I bought a beautiful cocktail shaker from Anthropologie (criminally marked down!) for my bar cart two years ago and had never once used it. If I wanted a cocktail, I went to a bar, where they had all the various liqueurs and bitters I did not want to buy. My cocktail repertoire has expanded dramatically.
  5. Slippers. I did not own slippers. I was not a slipper person! I love fuzzy socks and bare feet. But after considering those $95 ones from Birdies, my dad found this very reasonable pair on Amazon, which I ordered in burgundy. I love them. I especially love not having paid $95 for them.


    Photo repurposed from my Instagram story.

  6. My indoor pants. So I have a pair of stretchy yoga pants, which are very long and pool at my feet. They are my “indoor pants” and are not allowed outside my apartment. They are not allowed in the building hallway. They are not allowed on the terrace. I wore them only occasionally because in my previous life, I enjoyed leaving my apartment on a whim and I did not want to be caught having to change. Well, now that I never leave the apartment, the pants are never far.
  7. A short-sleeved sweatshirt. I joke that the most LA thing about me is that I own a Marc Jacobs short-sleeved sweatshirt. I bought it roughly 15 years ago. What is the point of this? I honestly do not know. In LA, a short-sleeved sweatshirt seems kind of reasonable. In New York, it does not. But now that I am indoors all day, the short-sleeved sweatshirt is getting a lot of wear!
  8. A mask. I had some masks in my storage closet, left over from when I had work done on my apartment. I dream of the day I will no longer need to wear a mask.

Weekend Reads- Wow, No Thank You

Good morning!


Here is my book: Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

(Is this the first time someone has read Italo Calvino and Samantha Irby simultaneously?)

And here is my breakfast: A maple bacon biscuit (the last one of the batch!) and coffee

I haven’t read as I thought I would during quarantine. I have the attention span of a gnat. I have lots of submissions that don’t seem to catch my interest (but several that have!). I’ve been using this indeterminable time to read things that I’ve meant to get to—Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, Italo Calvino’s Le città invisibili. (Italians, apparently, since I’ve been learning Italian.) I’ve also read a few other things for fun: The Hotel Neversink, Sometimes I Lie, Watch Me Disappear, The Forbidden Kingdom, all of which were winners.

But Samantha Irby and Wow, No Thank You is honestly the most fun I’ve had reading in a long time. I laughed out loud at least every page and spat my drink out several times. It was exactly the balm I needed right now. Many have mourned the fact that books coming out during the pandemic may get less attention—which I don’t think is entirely true, given the resources that have popped up to support them—and author tours are certainly impossible, but I do think this humorous essay collection happened to come out at the perfect time. I admire the confessional style here, although it’s something I think I’d rarely attempt on my own. But I was inspired by it! So expect a less writing and editing-focused post about quarantine soon.

Honestly, aside from the laughs, my self-directed takeaway was that there’s no one right way to live a life, a comforting thought now more than ever.